By Tajudeen Ahmad
It was another resounding victory for Nigeria at the ongoing world para-powerlifting championship in Lagos as two athletes from the “State of Omoluabi” bagged 3 gold medals for the country.
The two athletes, Muftau AbdulRasaq and Olaitan Ibrahim were selected by the Nigerian Para-powerlifting Federation following their outstanding triumph at the last year’s National Sports Festival in Abuja where each of them won a gold medal.
Muftau, who was a debutant at the Championship bagged 2 gold medals at the men’s 65kg and 72kg, beating his colleagues from 6 African countries.
Few minutes afterwards, the silver medallist at the 2017 World’s para-powerlifting championship in Mexico, Olaitan Ibrahim added one more gold medal at the women’s 67 kg.
Speaking with OSBC sports reporter Tajudeen Ahmad via telephone, the 2018 African Youth Games gold medallist, Olaitan described her performance as another feat which came via individual hard work, commitment and support from her coach and the State Government of Osun.
“I promised my coach and Osun people before this tournament that I would win a gold medal, it was possible because I trained very hard. I appreciate the unwavering support of the Sports Council and the State Government of Osun for the victory which I dedicate to my colleagues”, remarked, Olaitan.
Also speaking, 2 gold medallist at the championship, Muftau Abdurasaq said he never expected this resounding victory in his first attempt, adding that it’s the beginning of a long journey.
“although I worked hard but I never thought of winning a gold medal because participating countries came with their best athletes. Winning 2 gold medals for me, is a dream come true and I will work harder to sustain the tempo”, said Muftau.
In their separate reactions, the immediate past Commissioner for Sports, Social Protection and Special Needs in the State of Osun, Comrade Biyi Odunlade and the Director of Sports, Coaching and Training at the State of Osun Sports Council, Mr Ademola Daini who was at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos, venue of the event said performances of these athletes have shown to the world that Osun sits at the driver’s seat in the para-powerlifting event in Nigeria.
Comrade Odunlade said the administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola will record more successes in sports as he has promised to further invest in youths and sports development.
Mr. Daini who heaped praises on the General Manager of the Sports Council, Mrs Lola Oluokun, described her as a lucky “GM”, whose tenure has been the best in the history of the Sports Council.
The competition, first of its kind to be hosted in Nigeria had seventy nine athletes from seven African countries register to compete.
Hosts Nigeria registered the highest number of athletes with 52 in total (24 men and 28 women). Five athletes are representing Ghana (3 men and 2 women), 6 for Cameroon (4 men and 2 women), 4 for Guinea (3 men and 1 woman), Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire both have 5 athletes in the competition (3 men and 2 women) while the Central African Republic had 2 male athletes registered for the competition.
The event which serves as the qualification for the 2020 Paralympics Games in Tokyo climaxes on Thursday, 31st January, 2019.